Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia which is characterised by the loss of brain function, affecting memory, thought patterns and behaviour. In the UK alone there are over 800,000 people who suffer from dementia, 62% of whom will develop Alzheimer’s disease. The risk of disease is substantially increased in individuals aged 65 and over, with other risk factors including but not limited to, genetic predisposition and a history of head trauma.
Alzheimer’s disease is defined as a progressive decline in cognitive function as a result of injury and death of neurons in the hippocampus of the brain which is responsible for memory and learning. During the course of the disease large amounts of Amyloid beta (Aβ) protein is produced along with the abnormal aggregation of a protein responsible for the stabilisation of the cytoskeleton in neurons. The irregular build up of these substances leads to the formation of structures in the brain known as plaques and tangles which cause a gradual loss of connections between nerve cells and the ‘shrinkage’ of the brain in a loss of brain tissue, which eventually leads to severe brain damage.
The Epiomic database reveals a varied number of significant patient sub populations for many areas concerning Alzheimers Disease. Depicting the specific genetic subtypes which may predispose an individual to the disease, and breaking down the disease population through the use of patients Neuropsychiatric Inventory Score (NIS), which is used as a means of assessing neuropsychiatric symptoms of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
As the world population ages, the patient population of Alzheimers is expected to triple by 2050, the Epiomic Database is key in ensuring a clearer picture for this disease population is reached.